Madrid, Spain — August 30, 2017

It was cloudy yesterday morning when I once again set out walking for El Retiro Park, and this time I made it. By midday, the sun was peeping through the clouds from time to time. The forecast of no rain turned out to be false, but the rain showers held off until late afternoon when I was back at the hostel.

Madrid is chuck full of public parks. I walked almost eight miles in total yesterday, and most of it was through parks. Even abandoned industrial sites have been converted into parks. In the case of the park shown below, a rusty smokestack was left standing, and a pedestrian walkway was constructed leading up to the roof of the old factory, which is now a raised vantage point. No, I did not walk up there.

In the same park, I found this abandoned train station. The greenery planted around it would disguise it well if it weren’t for the graffiti painted on the gate.

From the abandoned train station, this walkway leads up to a pedestrian crossing over some currently operating and busy railroad tracks. You can’t see the tracks until you are on the bridge directly over them. The picture below shows the ramp up. When I walked up that ramp, I still had a long walk ahead of me to reach El Retiro Park.

At the top of the ramp, an elderly man had parked a stroller, and in the stroller was a boy of perhaps two years of age. Perhaps he was the man’s grandchild. The boy was having a great time waving to the passenger trains that passed under the bridge. That reminded me of when I was that young and waved at the steam engines pulling coal trains past our house outside Beaverdale, Pennsylvania , but in that case, the engineer and fireman waved back. My Dad worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and all of the train crews that passed our house knew whose child I was.

As I wrote above, yesterday I actually did reach the park that I was headed for after walking through several others to get there. El Retiro Park is quite large and varied, so no single photograph could do it justice. Part of it looks like a forest, and some sections of it are carefully cultured gardens like the one shown below. As I snapped the picture, a park worker was kneeling beside me to my right using a small pair of garden shears to carefully trim one of the little plants like those in the foreground one twig at a time. Madrid must pay out a fortune in salaries every month to the multitudes of workers who painstakingly maintain its public parks.

The Fallen Angel Fountain is also in El Retiro Park. It is pictured below. By the time I reached it, I had already walked almost seven miles, and my 75-year-old legs were feeling sore. It was time to return home, and this time not by foot. Google Maps showed me that there was a subway station not too far outside the park, so I walked off in that direction.

It turned out that the subway station is on the other side of an immense roundabout from the Antocha railway station, which is one of Madrid’s two largest. The other, the one where I arrived on the train from Santiago, is Charmatin. The buildings in the background in the picture below are only part of the station. I had no desire to walk across to visit the remaining part of Atocha Station.

Today, rain showers are forecast. I don’t know yet what I will do. As you might have gathered, I like to pass the day in Madrid walking to a place I want to visit and then taking public transportation back to the hostel. Perhaps I should do something indoors today such as visiting the Prado Museum, one of the world’s greatest museums of art. If I go, I’ll probably spend the whole time inside the museum viewing some of the museums 800+ works by Goya. I visited the Prado once several years ago, but it is so large, that I only saw a fraction of the paintings on exhibit. I’ll decide after breakfast if I’m going there, and I’ll let you know in tomorrow morning’s post how I passed today.